Biofuel Maker’s Shares Rise on Favorable Patent Ruling

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Biofuel maker Gevo Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) won a partial victory in federal court yesterday when a judge ruled that its method for producing isobutanol does not infringe on a patent held by Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a joint venture of BP plc (NYSE: BP) and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD). However the judge decline to issue a summary judgment in favor of Gevo and the case will go to trial as scheduled in August.

Butamax filed suit against Gevo for patent infringement in 2011, and in June of last year Gevo won its first battle when a court ruled it “likely” did not infringe and could continue to sell its product. Butamax appealed and yesterday’s ruling was the outcome of that appeal.

Isobutanol is a contender to replace corn-based ethanol as an additive to gasoline. The stuff has a higher energy content than ethanol — about 80% of an equivalent amount of gasoline compared with less than 70% for ethanol — and Gevo’s process can produce isobutanol more cheaply than its competitors.

Shares of Gevo are up 9.7% at about noon today, at $2.26 in a 52-week range of $1.36 to $10.39.

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